Indian PM calls for calm after protests against gang rape turn violent (VIDEO)


Indian demonstrators set fire to wooden barricades during a protest calling for better safety for women following the rape of a student last week, in front the India Gate monument in New Delhi on December 23, 2012. In the biggest protest so far, several thousand college students rallied at the India Gate monument in the heart of the capital where they were baton-charged, water cannoned and tear gassed by the police.



Large sections of central New Delhi were cordoned off on Monday and the Indian police also shut down public transportation in an effort to calm protests that had turned violent over the weekend.

India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appealed for calm in a televised address on Monday, said The Wall Street Journal.

"I assure you that we will make all possible efforts to ensure the safety and security of women in this country," said the Indian PM.

Demonstrators had been protesting against the brutal gang rape of a woman last week, and The New York Times noted that the protests tapped "into longstanding fury against entrenched corruption and lopsided justice, and leading to clashes with the police."

More on GlobalPost: Anti-rape protesters defy ban in Delhi

Reuters noted that Singh's government has been caught off-guard by the popular outrage, being forced into the defensive regarding the force used against the demonstrators.

"People are not reacting to just one rape case. They are reacting to the general malaise, the frustration with the leadership. There is a feeling that the leadership is completely disconnected," political analyst Neerja Chowdhury told Reuters.

The government has announced certain measures to try and assuage the public, including increased police night patrols, checks on bus drivers and their assistants and the banning of buses with tinted windows or curtains, said the BBC.

The BBC said more than 100 people were injured in the clashes over the weekend, while the police said at least 60 officers were also hurt.

The woman who was raped has been left in critical condition, and continues to be on life support.

Watch footage from the protests and the PM's address, via IBNLive: